Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition in which flat, dark spots and patches appear on the face, hands and other parts of the body that are regularly exposed to the sun. 

Our natural eye, hair and skin colour, is determined by the amount and type of melanin pigment that our cells produce. Melanin is produced by specialised cells called melanocytes  in the basal layer of the epidermis, and transferred to the upper layers of the skin in the keratinocyte cells, where they provide protection to the cell’s nucleus. 

Interestingly, everyone has the same number of melanocyte cells, but those in the skin of people with darker tones produce pigment more efficiently and have more of the brown-black eumelanin than those with paler skin who have more yellow-red pheomelanin. As a result of this the pigmented marks can be black, grey, brown, red or pink in colour

Melanin is produced when we are exposed to UltraViolet (UV) light. The pigment provides protection to the cells against damage by the sun, and as a result production will increase with increased exposure. However, over time regulation of the melanocytes can become unstable and they respond to various triggers by producing excessive amounts of melanin. Distribution of the pigment can also be affected, with melanin being produced in concentrated spots, the result being that the skin tone appears patchy and uneven.